We all spend many hours every week in conference calls. Meetings over distance are much more efficient than meeting every time in person, but there are many things that can still be done for improving conference calls. Here are 10 tips to make your calls better for all participants:
1. Set a clear objective
What is the call actually about? Scheduling weekly phone calls has the advantage that everybody can plan accordingly. However, the goal of the phone call sometimes gets lost. Make sure to set a clear objective as well as a rough agenda.
2. Ensure that everybody is on time
Of course, a conference call can only be effective if everybody is on time. No matter if the reason for being late was a prior appointment, technical issues or anything else – make sure that everybody gets used to a strict timing.
3. Solid audio line
A solid audio line is necessary to guarantee that everybody can follow. In best case, a simple dial in conferencing room is used where everybody can participate with his own smartphone. The audio line should be clear so that there is no space for misunderstandings.
4. Integrate a presentation
Using visual elements on top of the audio line has many advantages. Besides the easiness to share information, it is also crucial to use presentations so that everybody can follow the progress. A longer conference call without any visual elements will result in bored and lost participants who don’t know what you are talking about. Use Beamium to share your documents over the browser in a very easy and efficient way at your conference calls.
5. Meet the timing
After spending all the time with the first three points of the agenda, there is no time for the remaining points. Make sure that the timing is respected from all participants so that the whole agenda can be discussed. Be strict and prohibit exceedance.
6. Make sure that everybody pays attention
Many people try to use the time of the conference call to do some smaller tasks such as answering emails along the way. This does not make much sense since the conference call should be used to bring everybody on the same ground. Don’t treat the attendees like children, but make sure that everybody pays attention. Rather than wasting the expensive call (the costs of all participants together can be tremendously high), it should be used to make the next steps clear to everybody.
7. Avoid unnecessary discussions
It sometimes happens that people start to discuss a certain point of the agenda very long. In some cases, the discussion even expands to other areas which are not even connected to the agenda of the call. Make sure that the conference call is not the right time to discuss the company’s overall strategy in between. Interrupt discussions if you feel that the focus of the call gets lost.
8. Reserve time for questions
Naturally, a conference call is no one-way street. Questions and contributions from the participants are very important for a successful call. Everybody should have some space to comment. Beamium helps you to boost efficiency: participants can not only follow the presentation slide by slide, they can also ask questions and write comments directly to the presenter. He will then decide if they should be answered immediately or at the end at the reserved slot. Capturing questions and contributions and answering them at the end helps to avoid interruptions and contributes to the effectiveness of your call.
9. Summarize the main results
At the end of the call, the main outcomes should be summarized briefly. The organizer should then write the summary into a small mailing which goes to all participants. This guarantees that there are no misunderstandings.
10. Analyze the conference call
If you follow these steps, your next call will definitely be more successful than all previous ones. However, there is still room for improvement. Analyze the conference call afterwards together with one of the participants (in best case every time with somebody else) so that you can further improve the effectiveness. The better your conference calls become, the happier will all participants feel and the more successful will the results be.
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